Barry Brown Jr. continued to make his case for league honors in West Virginia last night, leading K-State to a bounce-back 65-51 victory in Morgantown. The senior guard filled the stat sheet with 21 points, three rebounds, four assists and four steals. The assist number could have been higher, had some of his his teammates not suffered inexplicable cases of the yips on wide open dunk attempts.
The game was a rugged, back-and-forth affair until K-State used a pair of second-half runs to first grab a lead, and then to put the Mountaineers away. With the win, K-State becomes the first to reach 10 Big-12 wins and maintains sole possession of the conference lead. The Wildcats have done much of the work on the road, where they are now 6-1 in league play, with dates at TCU and KU remaining. No other league team has more than four road wins.
Xavier Sneed ignored Fran Frascilla’s exhortation to stop “jacking threes” and finished with a season-high 19 points, on 5-of-8 outside shooting. He would have joined Brown with 21, but he lost his grip on a breakaway drive in the first half and somehow air-balled a dunk attempt. After hobbling off the floor Saturday against Iowa State, Dean Wade was a game-time decision last night. But he started and played 32 minutes, Scoring 10. One major deficiency: The bench scored a total of two points on the night, while committing 10 fouls. Depth is becoming a major concern.
As Luke Thompson noted in the recap, Barry Brown’s mid-range offensive game frustrated West Virginia defenders all evening and wound up being the difference in the contest. Brown’s performance of late has pushed his name into consideration for Big 12 Player of the Year. The season is not over yet, obviously, but Brown’s combination of consistent, team-leading offense and elite defense compares favorably with the raw offensive production of Dedric Lawson and all-around athletic game of Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver. The honor may well go to the front-runner whose team emerges with the conference title.
Justin Toscano at The Mercury wrote a nice feature article about junior Cal-Santa Barbara transfer Sarah Bates, who is sitting out her redshirt year and using the time to frustrate teammates with her unlimited shooting range while leading the scout team in practice. The 5-9 guard will be needed next year, as K-State will lose Kayla Goth to graduation.
The Pete Hughes era is off to a 2-2 start, as the Wildcats plated six runs in the ninth inning of their series finale against Cal State-Northridge to win 11-5 and salvage a series split. K-State pitching stranded 16 Matador base-runners on the day.
Two football items to round out the day: First, K-State Sports Extra introduced first-year safeties coach Joe Klanderman, a self-professed football junkie. Second, college football blogger and Texas Longhorns aficionado Ian Boyd has been making his rounds, rating the recruiting classes of Big 12 schools, and posted his evaluation of Chris Klieman’s first class. Overall, he seems a bit higher on the group than some of the national sources, and both the article and the comments are informative and entertaining.